Albion 1, Burnley 3

When Albion stayed up last season, they were aided by results against the teams that finished below them, 14 points from ten games.

They will have to improve their current ratio in the proverbial six pointers to extricate themselves from the sticky situation they now find themselves in.

Eight points from as many matches is a poor return, further damaged by a disturbing defeat at the hands of Burnley.

Doomed Huddersfield, Cardiff and Southampton come to the Amex in the next three league outings, Newcastle at the end of April, in what has now become a dogfight involving five clubs to avoid finishing 18th, with Fulham apparently destined to return to the Championship as well.

The Argus: Albion manager Chris Hughton (above) acknowledged: "One of the huge disappointments is that we were playing a team that is around us in the division. So that always adds a bit to it.

"We were on the back of a really good performance against Watford and going through in the (FA) cup midweek. We didn’t perform well enough to win.

"Burnley were good. They play a certain way and they do it really well. They are doing well at the moment and you could see why.

"We needed to defend better. For sure we need to get that little bit of luck and guile and quality in front of goal, and to play against a goalkeeper who’s not in such good form.

"Then things go in your favour, even if it’s not a game you particularly deserve to win. And sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don't."

As is more often than not the case when you are stuck in a bit of a rut, fortune was not on Albion's side.

For the second week in succession they came across an inspired goalkeeper, Tom Heaton this time after Ben Foster's exploits for Watford.

The Argus: Lewis Dunk slipped to leave Chris Wood free to slot Burnley into an interval lead from fellow former Seagull Ashley Barnes' pass (above).

Then, what could have been 2-1 immediately became 3-0. Referee Stuart Attwell and his assistants missed a clear handball by Jeff Hendrick, a "quite obvious mistake" according to Hughton, before awarding breaking Burnley a dubious penalty moments later for Mathew Ryan bringing down Barnes, who converted it (below).

The Argus: But there is nothing to be gained from Albion feeling sorry for themselves. You make your own luck and they had only themselves to blame for Wood and Burnley's second goal which left them with a lot to do.

A combination of Dale Stephens and Gaetan Bong allowed Dwight McNeil to advance through the middle far too easily and set up New Zealander Wood for an angled drive which Australian Ryan should have dealt with better.

Albion have problems at both ends of the pitch at the moment, which is a relegation recipe.

Thirty-seven shots in the last two home games, with just ten on target, have yielded only Shane Duffy's header from substitute Anthony Knockaert's free-kick, his fifth goal of the season.

They have consistently not been clinical enough, although on this occasion they again confronted a goalkeeper in outstanding form.

Early on, Heaton kept out a Solly March header and Pascal Gross volley. He also repelled a March shot and finger-tipped away a Gross cross which would have given Glenn Murray a simple nod-in and his 100th league goal for the club.

Burnley defended with impressive desire. Another Duffy header was cleared off the line by Republic of Ireland team-mate Hendrick and Phil Bardsley blocked a goalbound effort from Gross from March's cross.

Duffy almost scored at both ends, diverting a cross from McNeil onto the bar early on before Barnes also headed against the bar with the goal gaping in the same incident.

That was the one occasion when Burnley were not ruthless but Sean Dyche's side are now unbeaten in seven matches, their best-ever Premier League run.

Albion are heading in the opposite direction. On another wet evening at the Amex in December they overcame Duffy's red card to beat Crystal Palace and climb to tenth, 12 points above Burnley and the relegation zone.

Now the teams are locked together, three points above the bottom three. Albion have won once and lost seven times in 11 games over this period, a horrible sequence.

Their dependable form at the Amex has deserted them too, no win and one goal in four in all competitions this year.

"Yes, and what happens is it then becomes my responsibility and the responsibility of the players to change that," Hughton said. "And for this season and next season, and hopefully next season and the season after.

"There will be disappointments and periods when we are not playing so well. Or perhaps periods when we are doing better away from home than we are at home. These are all the things that are there to test us. We are playing in a very difficult league."

Albion need to regroup, do better in both boxes and rediscover their home power, particularly in those six pointers coming up. Otherwise they might not be playing in it for much longer.